Governor Ron deSantis of Florida has blamed a migrant workforce for a spike in Covid-19 cases.
Florida was one of the first states to open up again – back in April, before most states had re-opened. Now, cases in Florida are spiking, and the number of coronavirus cases in Florida has hit a new daily record – 3,207 new coronavirus cases.
However, even after this spike in cases, deSantis said that the state would continue to ease lockdown measures.
"We’re not shutting down, we’re gonna go forward, we’re gonna continue to protect the most vulnerable,” he said during a press conference on Tuesday.
He also blamed the coronavirus spike on "overwhelmingly Hispanic" day labourers and agriculture workers. He said, "Some of these guys go to work in a school bus, and they are all just packed there like sardines, going across Palm Beach County or some of these other places, and there’s all these opportunities to have transmission,” DeSantis said during a press conference in Tallahassee. Cases in migrant camps had increased, as had cases coming from watermelon farms around the state.
These workers were deemed essential workers, but had not been given adequate protection, according to representatives for more than 50 groups comprised of farmworkers.
Antonio Tovar, executive director of the Farmworker Association of Florida, told TNSF, on Wednesday, “We sent this letter to the governor more than two months ago and now he is realising that foreign workers are more suitable to get infected. That is very shameful because he was advised, he was told when we sent the letter.”
A coalition of 50 groups had asked him for aid in April, and resources to help these communities only arrived in May, after many had become ill.
DeSantis continued to blame the spike in cases on crowded living quarters and buses that transported people to work.